The Cost of a Wedding: Where to Start
With the average cost of a wedding reaching over $30,000 in some areas, an affordable wedding may be out of reach for many couples. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your costs down without sacrificing quality. From affordable venues to DIY projects and affordable catering options, there are ways to cut the cost of a wedding. Read on for some great tips on how you can save money while still having the wedding of your dreams.
Research the average cost of a wedding in your area
The first step to planning an affordable wedding is to determine the average cost of a wedding in your area. This will give you a good starting point when planning your budget and will also help you identify ways to save money. You can research the average cost of a wedding in your area by talking to local wedding vendors, visiting online forums, and looking through cost-analysis websites. For example, The Knot’s real brides section has over 350,000 real weddings that you can research to get a sense of what elements are included in different wedding budgets. WeddingWire also offers information on the average cost of a wedding in your area.
Choose a more affordable location
The location of your wedding is one of the biggest expenses. For example, on average, the cost of a wedding in Toronto is three times more expensive than a wedding in Brampton, Mississauga. If you can, consider getting married somewhere that has lower average wedding costs such as Brampton or Mississauga. Alternatively, you can also try to find ways to reduce the cost of the venue in your preferred location. For example, you can look for venues that offer off-season pricing or weekend weddings, or consider booking a room at a hotel or other venue that can accommodate your wedding. If you are having trouble finding an affordable location, consider booking a cruise ship as your wedding venue. While the cost of a cruise ship wedding can be rather high, it can be significantly less expensive than many land-based weddings.
Have an affordable rehearsal dinner instead of a cocktail party
Another way to save money on your wedding is by finding an affordable way to celebrate with your friends and family. For example, you can have a casual rehearsal dinner in place of a cocktail party. Alternatively, you can have an outdoor potluck or cocktail party before the wedding. Similarly, you can have a wedding breakfast instead of a sit-down dinner. A breakfast is a less expensive option that can still be elegant.
Select an affordable caterer
The caterer is another major expense when planning a wedding. Caterers can charge as much as $65 per person or more for a wedding buffet. To keep costs down, you can do some research to find a caterer who charges a reasonable price for the food you want. You can also consider having a potluck or self-serve buffet to reduce the cost of catering. You can also consider hiring a chef to cook for your guests. Chefs can charge anywhere from $20 to $100 or more per person for a wedding buffet, but they may offer a lower price as a trade for publicity. If you are having a smaller wedding, you can hire a chef to prepare a meal for just your wedding party. Alternatively, you can also shop at a grocery store or farmers’ market to purchase food to make a self-serve buffet.
Stay away from luxury items—dessert, flowers, and favors
Another way to cut costs is to avoid luxury items, such as designer desserts, custom favors, and elaborate floral arrangements. For example, you can purchase premade desserts or an economy tier at a bakery instead of ordering a custom wedding cake. Similarly, you can purchase premade favors instead of ordering custom favors. You can also select a less expensive type of flowers, such as daisies or sunflowers, instead of more expensive flowers, such as orchids or roses. You can also consider using fake flowers or silk flowers, which are less expensive than live flowers.
Plan your own wedding ceremony and reception
Another way to cut costs is to plan your own wedding ceremony and reception. You can do this by selecting a venue that allows you to bring in your own caterer, alcohol, and other vendors. Alternatively, you can also find a venue that offers a self-contained wedding package. If you have a small budget, consider having an afternoon wedding or a simple wedding that doesn’t include a lot of extras. If you are having a large wedding, you can also have a smaller, more inexpensive ceremony first and then have a larger reception later in the evening or the next day.
A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event and should be celebrated, but it is easy to get carried away and go way over budget. To keep the costs down, you can research the average cost of a wedding in your area, choose a more affordable location, have an affordable rehearsal dinner instead of a cocktail party, select an affordable caterer, stay away from luxury items—dessert, flowers, and favors, and plan your own wedding ceremony and reception. Planning an affordable wedding takes some research, but it is possible to have a beautiful wedding while keeping costs down.